Flashback MTV Interview: 2002

NOTE: This is an old article from MTV.com (2002).

Source: MTV.com

On a sunny day in July, comedian Jimmy Fallon sat down with MTV News’ Gideon Yago to discuss all the things that could go wrong when he hosts the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards on August 29. Barring any accidents involving falling stage lights, the Saturday Night Live star looks to do fine, as long as nobody asks him to do karaoke. Grandma wouldn’t like that. Trust us.

Gideon Yago: You’ve hosted an MTV awards show before, but what are you looking for this time around?

JIMMY FALLON: Remembering this one.

Yago: Is that tough for you?

FALLON: Yeah, I don’t really remember a lot of things. I don’t know how I got into the building. I’m assuming someone let me in somewhere off the street. I don’t think I stayed overnight here, so I think this morning I was in here. It’s kind of like “Memento.” I take off my shirt and look at my tattoos and it says, “You’ve got to meet Gideon at 4:30 and talk about the Video Music Awards.”

Yago: How did you break the news to Kirsten Dunst that you were going to be flying solo this time around?

FALLON: Yeah, I didn’t tell her, so I think she’s finding out right now. Sorry about that, Kirsten. I’m gonna miss her. Maybe she’ll be around, though, in spirit. I have a locket of her hair — I mean a lock of her hair in a locket … and I lock it when I leave the house.

Yago: Have you ever been to a VMAs award — uh, ah — have you ever been to a VMA before?

FALLON: It’s all right, dude. Relax, man. It’s not a big deal. It’s Times Square, I know the huge Toys “R” Us, it’s unbelievable, but I, uh — what was the question?

Yago: Have you ever been to a VMA before?

FALLON: Yeah, I came a couple years ago. I dressed up as the ‘NSYNC guys. I strapped myself to like five mannequins, and I danced like that dude at the Lakers games, and I got the same reaction from the crowd — dead silence.

Yago: How would you describe the entire experience for someone who has never seen it?

FALLON: It’s like … I don’t know … there’s writing. It’s kind of like “Saturday Night Live.” You write it and you perform it. So you’ve got these great writers in a room who work on stuff. It’s kind of hard to work on banter — like, what are Pink and Puff Daddy going to say to each other without making it look staged. Like, “Well, it’s great to be here. How are you?” or “Wow, your hair looks really great tonight. How did you do it?” and then she goes, “Oh, I don’t know, I guess I had your same people work on my hair. Ha, ha, ha.” And then no one laughs. It’s like, give the award out already. So we’re trying to make that faster. So if Puff Daddy and Pink come out it will just be like: “Hi.” “Hi. The nominees for the …” We’re just trying to move it faster.

Yago: Now, you wrote a book with your sister called “I Hate This Place — A Pessimist’s Guide to Life.” So what is a pessimist’s guide to hosting the VMAs?

FALLON: That it’s going to suck, that it’s going to go so long that people are going to get bored. Your career’s going to be over. People are going to make fun of you and do impressions of you, like in cases where they want to show someone that’s stinking, they’ll do you. That’s probably some of the things you get afraid of. That’s probably the way a pessimist looks at it.

Yago: Any anxieties that a light will fall on your head or something will catch fire?

FALLON: I always have that anxiety that a light is going to fall on my head. There’s a lighting guy that hates me. He follows me around and throws lamps at me so I assume that they’re falling. Wait, there’s not [supposed to be] a light out here — we’re outdoors. Why is there a light? Maybe it’s “The Truman Show.” I don’t know what’s happening. I don’t know what’s going on. So I’m afraid all the time. But you’ve got to roll with the punches. If a light falls on me during the show, keep the cameras rolling, because I want to make the bloopers show, the “Uncensored” the year after. That’s history. “Yeah, remember the year when that comedian — they won’t even remember my name — remember when that comedian guy got hit with a light?” And he held his back in slow motion. And they’ll play the Goo Goo Dolls behind me or P.O.D. “I feel so alive …” and the light falls on me. They’ll be wheeling me out — “Oh, I’ll never host an awards show again.”

Yago: Do you have any VMA moments that really stick out in your head?

FALLON: The Howard Stern thing was always great. I loved that. And the Rage Against the Machine guy was one of my favorite things. There’s so many. The Chili Peppers with Marisa Tomei — that was the Video Music Awards, right?

Yago: I think that might have been the Movie Awards, but I don’t know — I just work here.

FALLON: I remember being at the Movie Awards thinking about the Video Music Awards thinking, “Man, those are great awards shows. You should make a movie about them and then nominate it at the Movie Awards.” “The winner of the best movie about a video awards show is … our movie! Thanks us! You’re welcome, you!”

Yago: You’ve got a comedy album called The Bathroom Wall coming out two days before the VMAs.

FALLON: I know. Doesn’t that seem planned? It kinda seems bumped up. It’s a comedy album. I’m not crossing over. I’m not trying to say, “Oh, I’m a singer now, take me seriously.” The first song is called “Idiot Boyfriend” and it’s a disco song. It’s like a very Leo Sayer type of vibe, like (sings high pitched) “I know what you want!” And I think no one’s going to get into that, and that’s going to be good because I love to be depressed. We just did the video. I think they’ve got a “Making the Video,” because my friend saw a commercial for it.

Yago: For real? They didn’t even tell you about it?

FALLON: No, no. They make the video, and they don’t tell you you’re making the video, and they go, “By the way, you made the video,” and you’re like, “What?! How was it?” and they go, “Watch. Tune in.” And then you see it and go, “Oh yeah, I remember that. That was good.”

Yago: Is there any concept for it?

FALLON: Oh yeah. It’s kind of like a “Meet the Parents” … Sorry, am I cutting you off every time you try to talk?

Yago: No, not in the slightest. Go for it.

FALLON: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me talk.

Yago: I …

FALLON: No, please.

Yago: Please, it’s …

FALLON: Thank you.

FALLON: So what I do, I’ve got this video and it’s like a “Meet the Parents” type of idea, and Zooey Deschanel plays my girlfriend. And I meet the parents and they’re singing karaoke — it’s a party for her grandmother — and they make me sing a song, and then the only song I know is “Idiot Boyfriend” off my album. Why? I don’t know. So then I do it, but in my fantasy I’m singing like I’m really into it. There’s bubbles all around me, but in real life I’m just a moron in the living room. And then I end up grinding with the grandmother and I get thrown out of the house.

Yago: Is this based on a real-life experience?

FALLON: Definitely, yeah. Weekly experience.

Yago: Well, that basically wraps up every question that we have.

FALLON: No, no. There’s probably more questions.

Yago: Um, OK. Are you rooting for anybody in particular?

FALLON: Why would you ask me something stupid like that for?

Yago: Because I figure that’s, like, the stock …

FALLON: Yeah, I’m rooting for me. I hope I do well.

Yago: Was there any video that you saw that totally blew you away?

FALLON: Yeah, I liked the Eminem video. That was great. I thought that was a really cool video.

Yago: The biggest-nominated video that we’ve got.

FALLON: Is it really? Well I think deservedly so. Did you have anything to do with the judging or picking?

Yago: Absolutely none whatsoever. I told you to blame me for the questions, not the nominations.

FALLON: Dude, it’s just me. Don’t worry about these microphones — it’s just us talking. You picked the videos, didn’t you?

Yago: None. Dude, you’d think I’d have kind of pull here, but you’d be totally, totally wrong.

FALLON: Nothing? I’ve seen your office. Your dressing room’s huge.

Yago: What office? I work in a cubicle.

FALLON: Ha, ha. Do you really?

Yago: Behind the refrigerator, underneath the soda machine.

FALLON: Your desk has wheels on the bottom — like, “Hey, there’s my office. They’re pushing my office over there!”

Yago: Hey, thanks a lot, man.

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